Symptoms of Bullying - Signs that Your Child is Being Bullied
There are some symptoms of bullying that are not readily apparent. Sometimes, they manifest themselves even beyond adolescence with seemingly no prior indication. Bullying is a damaging social phenomenon that has claimed the lives of plenty of young people, hurt them physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, and curtailed their growth and potential. To prevent any or all of these negative things from affecting your child, you have to make it your mission to be aware of the different signs that they may be getting bullied.
- Tell-tale clues of a physical tussle
Some of the most obvious symptoms of bullying are easily to spot. These may come in the form of torn clothes, school books, and other items; a split lip or eyebrow, cuts, scratches, or bruises on any part of the body; and other evidence that your child may have been involved in a physical fight. When this happens, try to talk to your child in such a way as not to make them feel like they are being accused of starting the brawl.
If he is a victim of physical harassment, this might make him feel more alienated and helpless. Plenty of bullied children feel ashamed or afraid at admitting to being bullied, and could make up stories like being in an accident to cover up the real situation. It is up to the parents or guardians to patiently and gently draw him into opening up about the events before offering to help him.
- A decline in academic performance
Campus peer victimization is not uncommon. Gangs, cliques, and teams typically pick on a lone victim to intimidate within the school, whether it is during or after classes. Harassment is a definite cause of stress that can result in poor performance at school, making it one of the symptoms of bullying which parents and teachers alike should be aware of.
School already creates a fair amount of stress to a child because of the expectations involved; experiencing school bullying on a regular basis can cause poor concentration, fatigue, and a harder time accomplishing tasks. Its effects can resonate well into adulthood as psychotic symptoms. In this light, it is important not let the situation get to the point where your child asks to be transferred to another school or drops out of it altogether. Seek help from school authorities to nip bullying in the bud for the protection your child, as well as of other kids who could also become victims.
- Marked changes in dietary habits and sleeping patterns
A previously healthy appetite could suddenly decline in the case of a bullied child, especially if the cause of their being harassed is weight-related. Not all victims of bullying have changes in their dietary habits because of their weight, though. Most are simply too stressed to deal with gustatory activities because their minds are too filled with thoughts of how to survive another bout of bullying in the near future.
The same holds true for kids who suddenly exhibit signs of insomnia or changes in sleeping patterns. These are valid symptoms of bullying that are actually alarming, because they are signs of excessive stress. Anxiety and restlessness in turn can result in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which brings with it a whole new set of disheartening physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms.
- Sudden mood changes, signs of depression, irritability, or unexplained bouts of crying or lashing out
Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking symptoms of bullying that a parent can witness in their child involves both behavioral and psychological ones. A previously happy and contented child might suddenly be prone to angry outbursts or hypersensitivity, display lowered self-esteem or be self-deprecating, lose their sense of humor, start picking fights with their family or friends, develop new phobias, and be generally disagreeable when they weren’t before.
A heightened predicament as far as bullying is concerned can lead to alarming psychological symptoms such as panic attacks, irrational fear, suicidal thoughts and actions, anxiety, and depression. These symptoms can develop into physical ones that could compromise your child’s health. Asthma, diabetes, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, and even premature death can result in unchecked stress caused by adolescent bullying.
- Unexpected secretive or illogical behavior in established daily routines
One example of this point is when a school-aged child who usually gets picked up by the bus to go to school suddenly finds excuses not to, and insists on taking a different route without explaining why. Or he could start complaining about phantom illnesses as an excuse not to attend certain classes. Once you detect these suspicious symptoms of bullying, it is important to investigate the matter straightaway. Perhaps bullies are already harassing your child on the school bus, on the path he takes to get to school, or in certain school periods such as gym class.
It is vital to draw your child into a discussion about the harassment he may be experiencing by asking either blunt or subtle questions, depending on the degree of the symptoms of bullying that he displays. If he is still secretive about it, enlist the help of a school staff to observe your child on your behalf, and work together to plan ways to keep bullying from affecting your child’s well-being.
Copyright © 2011 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved.
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